How I Made $300 Cleaning the Kitchen Counter

This two-square-foot corner of my kitchen counter is perpetually cluttered.  It is the drop spot next to the computer where everything I need to deal with is dumped.  I hate and neglect it:

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I have a goal to deal with the paper trail more regularly so that my counter–and my brain–can function more efficiently.  And guess what?  When you de-junk, you often find misplaced or forgotten items.  For example, in this de-junk session, I found $200 in cash clipped to the front of the mail organizer.  A friend had paid us his portion for something we’d put on our credit card.  I clipped it underneath the coupons so a wad of $20s wouldn’t be on display for company and then promptly forgot about it.  Score! Money we forgot we had.  (Or Fail! For forgetting a handy little bundle of bills that we could be using).

Additionally, I found several old gift cards.  I almost just tossed them, thinking for sure we had exhausted them, but decided to check the balances–just in case.  Whoa!   Good thing:  $160.11 in gift cards I forgot we had.

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You might be thinking, “Well, so what?!  Great for you, but there isn’t $300 to be found cleaning my kitchen counter,” and you are probably right.  For this to happen, you must have a history of exceptional slothfulness in dealing with your paperwork and other counter clutter.  You can’t find booty like this unless you have first lost track of it for many months.  Wink.

The reason I bring this up, though, is that most of us have places in our lives that are cluttered and it costs us money.  If you can’t find the duct tape, painter’s tape, phillips screwdriver, liquid soap refill, flashlight, wire brush or that window-washing-squeegee-thingee what do you do?  You buy a new one and that costs you money you didn’t need to spend.  Or you exert time and energy you don’t have, looking for something you won’t find, and then run to the store to buy a new one anyway.   Organization pays in money, time and mental wellness.

Organization in the daily stream of paperwork also ensures you won’t miss any bills.  Most of ours are on auto-pay, thank goodness, but there are a few that come around less frequently and must be dealt with the old-fashioned way.  Like registering our cat, for instance.  It only happens once a year, so they send a paper bill in the mail.  If that were to become lost in my black hole of paper work, I would accrue an $18 late fee which would be an absolute tragedy since the yearly license fee itself is only $6.

It literally pays to be organized and I have made it my singular mission this year–and next, if necessary–to get our house under control.  And yes, I plan to spend even the $.69 left at Walgreens.  The other gift cards (Visa, Target, Walmart and Costco) are long-gone.

Do you have a place in your life that needs some attention?  Buck up and git ‘er done.  Life feels great with one less pile of junk!

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